Tag Archives: Raul Rodriguez

Stirring Afro-Flamenco Explorations

Raúl Rodríguez – La Raíz Eléctrica (Fol, 2017)

Spanish multi-instrumentalist, composer, researcher and inventor Raúl Rodríguez has released another impressive recording titled La Raíz Eléctrica.

The new album continues Raúl Rodríguez’s explorations of flamenco, Caribbean and African music connections. On La Raíz Eléctrica you’ll find a delectable mix of flamenco, Afrobeat, Cuban son, Haitian vodoo rhythms and Andalusian rock.

La Raíz Eléctrica features a remarkable cast of guests, including Haitian musicians from Lakou Mizik, Boukman Eksperyans as well as Paul Beaubrun; American singer Jackson Browne; and other extraordinary musicians.

Raúl Rodríguez showcases his talent playing a wide range of musical instruments including two variations of the Cuban tres he came up with: the flamenco tres and the electric tres, which appears in this album for the first time.

La Raíz Eléctrica has it all: fiery percussive pieces, notable solo guitar performances and inspiring songs.

 

 

You don’t want to miss the physicals version. La Raíz Eléctrica comes with a 100+ page hard cover book with essays, photos , credits, English-language translations and a cover by one of Spain’s most talented graphic designers, Mariscal.

The lineup includes Raúl Rodríguez on vocals, tres flamenco, electric tres, electric guitar, flamenco guitar, lap steel guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, palmas (flamenco handclap percussion), bombo, caja, shekere, karkabas, kazoo; Aleix Tobias on drums, cajon, calabash, darbuka, bells, bendir, congas, tambourine and effects; Pablo Martin Jones on cajon, palmas, bell, kalimbas, bongos, congas, bells; Guillem Aguilar on bass; Mario Mas on electric and flamenco guitar; Domi Jr. on jembe; Peterson “Tipiti” Joseph and James Acarrier on kone (Haitian metal horns); Jackson Browne on vocals; Javier Mas on archlute; Paul Beaubrun on electric guitar; Theodore “Lòlò” Beaubrun on lead and backing vocals; Mimerose P. “Manzé” Beaubrun, Natacha Massillon, Caroline Dejean Andrus, Donier Mondesir, and Emilio Cuervo on backing vocals; Domi Serralbo and Paco Pavia on palmas; and dancer Juan de Juan.

 

 

La Raíz Eléctrica is a masterfully-crafted cross-pollination of musical styles by one of Spain’s most gifted musicians.

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Artist Profiles: Razón de Son

Raúl Rodriguez, Razón de Son – Photo by Oscar Romero

Razón de Son is a creative research project that investigates the intercultural origin of early flamenco music. The research uses a double method of investigation: on one side the anthropological background and on the other musical experimentation.

Razon de Son aims to expand the musical storyline by tracing back to the deeply mestizo culture heir of the cultural crossover that occurred in the Afro-Caribbean colonies and the Andalusian ports of Seville and Cadiz between 16th and 19th centuries.

Raul Rodriguez creates new tunes and reinterpretations of the ancient Afro-Hispanic dances. He also introduced a new musical instrument that he calls the tres flamenco, combining Cuban son and flamenco toque which opens the possibilities of a new language: Son Flamenco.

Razon de Son also applies the latest historical and musical studies around the multiple sources that influenced flamenco music. This idea was developed over the last few years by several authors such as Faustino Nuez, Jose Luis Ortiz-Nuevo. J. L. Navarro Garcia and Santiago Auseron offering some of the most interesting perspectives around the basic fundamentals of the flamenco culture.
This new perspective not only shows new origins of Flamencos most deeply rooted traditions but also highlights the importance of the contribution of black music from the Andalusian ports of the XVI to XVIII centuries to flamenco music. Detailed studies show that the African dances already existed in the Spanish Golden Age and had a decisive influence on the development of many of the modern Flamenco dances thus opening up a path to follow in order to continue to discover new tools of expression new sones for the future.

In 2003. Raul Rodriguez founded the celebrated band Son de la Frontera featuring for the first time the Cuban tres in Flamenco in an homage work to Diego del Gastor. He produced both albums of the band for Nuevos Medios: Son de la Frontera (2004) and Cal (2006). The band got international reputation receiving several awards as Flamenco Hoy 25 Best Instrumental Album, BBC Radio World Music Awards as Best European Album 2008. Son de la Frontera toured worldwide and played in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, La Habana Miami, Mexico DF, Montreal, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, etc. from 2003 to 2008.

Razon de Son is Raul Rodriguez’s continuation of his musical research of early flamenco.

Line-up: Raul Rodriguez – tres cubano; Mario Mas – Spanish guitar; Aleix Tobias on percussion; and Guillem Aguilar – bass

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Artist Profiles: Raul Rodriguez

Raúl Rodríguez – Photo by Oscar Romero V.

 

Flamenco guitar and Cuban tres player Raúl Rodríguez Quiñones was born in Sevilla (Spain) in 1974. He started out playing electric guitar and drums, taking a particularly interest in blues and rock music, but by age 17 shifted his attention to playing flamenco guitar.

Raúl later attended the University of Sevilla, where he majored in the History of Cultural Anthropology. He began playing professionally in the group Caraoscura, a duo including himself and Jose Loreto “Charmusco,” the son of the famous guitarist Parrilla de Jerez. In 1995, they released an album titled Qué es lo que quieres de mí? on RCA Records that was produced by Kiko Veneno and Joe Dworniak.

 

Raúl Rodríguez

 

In 1996, Raúl joined Kiko Veneno as his flamenco guitarist, touring and recording Punta Paloma (BMG 1997), Puro Veneno (BMG 1998), and La Familia Polio (BMG 2000). Raúl Rodriguez also performed with his mother, the renowned Spanish singer Martirio, playing guitar and percussion.

In 1999, Raúl co-produced Martirio’s Flor de Piel (52 P.M.), an ambitious flamenco-jazz interpretation of South American music. In 2001, Raúl produced and arranged Martirio’s Mucho Corazon (52 P.M.) that was nominated as “Best Flamenco Album” at the 2002 Latin Grammys. His collaborations with Martirio continued with the albums “25 años” (Nuevos Medios, 2009), “El aire que te rodea” (Sony, 2010), “De un mundo raro. Cantes por Chavela” (Universal, 2013), and “Martirio – 30 años” (Universal, 2015).

 

Raúl Rodríguez – Photo by Oscar Romero V.

 

In 2003 Raúl formed the acclaimed flamenco fusion group Son de la Frontera. Raúl Rodriguez played the flamenco tres he developed, based on the Cuban tres.

A seasoned session musician, Raúl Rodriguez has also recorded with Compay Segundo, Jackson Browne, Chavela Vargas, Soledad Bravo, Jerry Gonzalez, and many others.

His first solo album Razón de Son came out in 2014. The CD version came in a beautifully-packaged hard cover book.

 

Discography

* ¿Qué es lo que quieres de mí?”, with Caraoscura (BMG, 1995)
* Son de la Frontera (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2005)
* Cal (Nuevos Medios/World Village, 2007)
* Razón de Son (Fol, 2014)
* La Raíz Eléctrica (2017)

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The Captivating Real and Imagined Path of Flamenco

Raúl Rodríguez - Razón de Son
Raúl Rodríguez – Razón de Son

Raúl Rodríguez

Razón de Son (Fol Musica, 2014)

We expect a lot out of music. We expect it to entertain us, to dazzle us, to rev us up and to soothe us. Most of all we expect it to spark that bit of the brain where imagination and other worlds reside, a place where we can lose our present state and dip into that magical world of sound that resonates through our whole body and self. Tres player, singer and composer Raul Rodriguez hits all the marks on his Razon de Son out on the Fol Musica label.

To further the whole experience Fol Musica has gone full out on the hardcover book that accompanies the CD. Filled with photos, reprinted artwork and descriptions and commentary on the music, the Razon de Son booklet is a treasure trove that furthers illuminates the music, as well as provides a human-sized look into the music rather than the standard mouse-sized liner notes and photos most of us haul out the magnifying glass to actually see. While it might come as a surprise to some that there are a good number of people and a fair amount of artwork that is involved in producing a CD, the Razon de Son book packaging puts it all out there for normal folks.

While some music fans will recognize Mr. Rodriguez as the son of the Spanish singer Martirio, many more will know his music through his work with Jose Loreto “Charmusco” and their group Carascura and Son de la Frontera, the group he formed with Paco de Amparo, Pepe Torres, Manuel Flores and Moi de Moron that offered up such releases as Son De La Frontera, Cal and Jazz Con Duende Vol.2 with Pata Negra.

Conjuring up a deliciously fresh sound, Mr. Rodriguez gives listeners a new take on flamenco music using his own mastery of the Cuban tres to fashion what’s being called tres flamenco. Craftily integrating Cuban, African and Caribbean into flamenco music, Mr. Rodriguez reminds listeners that music travels and it has always traveled.

Beyond its own Moorish and Indian influences, Mr. Rodriguez that flamenco squares nicely with influences picked up on the seas by way of Africa and Latin America. Rather than the sometimes stiff structure or melodrama of classic flamenco, Mr. Rodriguez, along with drummer and percussionist Aleix Tobias, bassist Guillem Aguilar, guitarist Mario Mas and percussionist Pablo Martin Jones, keeps the mood easy and deliciously exciting.

Composing most of the music on Razon de Son, Mr. Rodriguez and fellow musicians set the tone with the brief instrumental intro before giving listeners the full force of title track “Razon de Son.” Bright, full of tres and guitar flash, infectious backing rhythms and Mr. Rodriguez’s plumy vocals, “Razon de Son” goes over with an amiable ease. The elegance in form of “Llevame a la Mar” on this fandango/indiano combo is truly stunning, especially after the intro when vocals and percussion are added to the tres and guitar.

The soneria “El Negro Curro” is a dishy, seductive, percussive delight. While not abandoning form, Razon de Son opens the form to tempting possibilities as with “La Cana,” the sharply worked soneria “Con La Guitarra en Blanco” and the lush petenera veracruzana “La Pena Y La Que No Es Pena.” Mr. Rodriguez and company find equal delight in savvy suaveness of bluesleria “Si Supiera” and the sweetly worked Danza de las Espades closing track “Beturia Sonora.”

Breezy and good natured, Razon de Son gives way to the real and imagined path of flamenco and the effect is utterly captivating.

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